HP’s newest VR headset, Reverb G2, is finally here. Promising to bring some of the features of Valve’s Index to the Windows VR scene, along with class-leading resolution, new controllers and better tracking. Read on to find out if it delivers.

Before we break into the review, here’s a recap of Reverb G2 specs:

Resolution 2,160 × 2,160 (4.7MP) per-eye (LCD)
Refresh Rate 90Hz
Lenses Single element Fresnel
Field of View 114° diagonal
Optical Adjustments IPD
IPD Range 60–68mm
Connectors USB-C, DisplayPort, Power
Cable Length 6m
Tracking Quad on-board camera (no external beacons)
Controllers Reverb G2 controllers
Audio Off-ear headphones
Microphone Yes
Pass-through Cameras Yes

HP Reverb G2 Summary

As is tradition, our full review goes into significant depth, so we’ll start with a summary.

HP’s Reverb G2 really delivers on visual fidelity thanks to its 2,160 × 2,160 per-eye displays. Visible screen door is virtually non-existent on the headset, offering easily the greatest clarity of any headset in its class. While the display isn’t ‘retina resolution’, it still offers a ton of resolving power and will let you see details not visible with other headsets. While the display and lenses aren’t perfect and don’t offer as wide a field of view as Valve’s Index, the headset manages to provide an exceptional level of fidelity.

Photo by Road to VR

As HP worked with Valve on the headset, it got to lift the very same off-ear headphones from Index and put them right onto the G2. It’s great to have powerful built-in audio in a form-factor that doesn’t touch your ears or get in your way when you put the headset on. I hope to see more and more companies adopt the same. While HP says the drivers in the headphones are identical to those in Index, I noticed some distortion in certain higher pitched frequencies which didn’t sound great. I’m hoping HP can clear that up with some post-launch EQ adjustments.

The new Reverb G2 controllers are a welcomed change from the old WMR controllers. They mostly mimic Oculus Touch in design, with the same general handle shape and same set of buttons, sticks, and triggers. While they don’t feel quite as premium, they work more seamlessly with modern VR content which has largely coalesced around these inputs.

Photo by Road to VR

In terms of tracking, G2 is the first WMR headset to move from two to four cameras for its inside-out tracking. With the two extra cameras on the side of the headset, this gives controller tracking much more coverage and helps reduce the number of ‘stuck’ controller moments which happen when they spend too much time without line of sight to the cameras. Although coverage is increased, there’s still some tracking deadzones above and below the headset which can sometimes be annoying but never significantly impacted gameplay.

Head-tracking continues to be as solid as other WMR headsets and has little issue except for occasional software-induced stutter when transitioning between apps or loading screens. Overall precision and latency for controller-tracking is acceptable but not exceptional, showing more latency and jitter than we see with Oculus or SteamVR tracking.

G2 is comfortable enough, and better than G1, but doesn’t really move the bar overall for VR comfort. The rear strap does a fine job of gripping the back of your head while the top strap helps relieve pressure. The side straps for tightening the headset are elastic which is a little funky in practice because the straps and struts don’t slide as easily as they should. Because of that elasticity though, there’s enough flex to easily pull the headset on and off without adjusting the tightness every time. Beyond the straps, a physical IPD adjustment ranging from 60–68mm lets you best align the lenses with your eyes for clarity and comfort.

Photo by Road to VR

While many users will likely gloss over the Windows Mixed Reality environment and jump straight into SteamVR, the WMR environment is actually quite richly featured, allowing users to customize a persistent space and bring their desktop applications into VR in floating virtual windows. The WMR environment can also be fully controlled by VR controllers or a keyboard and mouse, which makes it a flexible way to do more than just play VR games.

While Reverb G2’s class-leading resolution would seem to make it a great candidate as a ‘virtual desktop’ for typical desktop productivity in VR, a realistically sized virtual monitor only sees around a 720p resolution (since it doesn’t stretch across the headset’s entire field of view). While this resolution is perfectly legible, truly working this way still feels like a novelty because of the reduction to your natural field of view and the even more limited ‘sweet spot’ of the headset; both factors mean you’ll need to move your head around much more while using a virtual monitor than you would on an equivalent real-life monitor, which feels like a compromise in practice, especially considering the ergonomic sacrifices of wearing a headset for long periods.

For a $600 headset, Reverb G2 delivers a strong value thanks to its excellent visuals and acceptable tracking. It feels like an especially good fit for simulator-focused use-cases where resolving power is a significant contributor to the experience.

HP Reverb G2 In-depth Review

Photo by Road to VR

Display and Lenses

Let’s go right to Reverb G2’s most appealing feature, its display. With a 2,160 × 2,160 LCD display per-eye, the headset delivers class-leading resolution that blows most other headsets out of the water. While the below chart is an imperfect comparison because it doesn’t consider field of view, it does give a good look at where Reverb G2’s resolution stands in comparison to similar headsets (and the first-generation Rift CV1 for reference):

Megapixels per-eye
Rift CV1 1.3
Vive Pro 2.3
Rift S 1.8
Quest 2.3
Index 2.3
Quest 2 3.5
Reverb G2 4.7
Screen Door No More

Reverb G2 is the first headset in its class where the screen door effect (the unlit spaces between pixels) is virtually gone. Try as you might, the black grid between pixels that’s visible on most other headsets just isn’t discernable. That’s a critical threshold to cross as pretty much every headset in this class to date has had some level of visible screen door effect.

The lack of screen door and impressive sharpness makes everything in the headset look more solid and real, in a way that’s difficult to articulate. The extra sharpness also makes the sense of stereoscopic depth clearer in a way that seems more convincing to the brain.

Photo by Road to VR

The resolving power is so impressive that you might find yourself gawking. I definitely did. In Half-Life: Alyx I couldn’t stop looking at the absurd level of detail revealed in the medal of the shotgun. When I jumped into Robo Recall, I was blown away to see the level of detail the headset could reveal in the cloth on the legs of the robots.

If you’ve ever had the experience of getting new headphones and hearing previously unheard details in songs you’ve listened to a hundred times before—at times Reverb G2 feels a lot like that, but with your eyes instead of your ears.

Granted, the screen door being gone does not mean the headset is ‘retina resolution’, nor does it mean it offers perfect clarity. Because it isn’t retina resolution, aliasing is still visible, but it’s really only visible in niche circumstances, like when looking at tiny high contrast details.

Mura & Chromatic Aberration

Overall clarity of the headset is held back slightly by a bit of mura (inconsistency in pixel color and brightness across the display). In the headset the mura manifests in faint horizontal stretches, but it’s faint enough that it isn’t really noticeable except against certain colors.

HP’s prior headset, Reverb G1, makes a good point of comparison to show how much better G2 is—even though both headsets share the same resolution.

G1 had pretty noticeable mura along with red-smearing and chromatic aberration, all of which hurt its clarity despite its high resolution. G2 on the other hand has quite minimal mura, no red-smearing (or ghosting of any kind), and no chromatic aberration, giving it easily the best clarity of any headset in its class.

And while Quest 2 isn’t far behind in resolving power with its 1,832 × 1,920 (3.5MP) per-eye displays, the PC power behind G2 means the graphical fidelity of what you’re likely to see through the headset takes far better advantage of all those pixels. And yes, Quest 2 can connect to a PC as well, but this comes with an additional quality hit due to encoding compared to pixels natively rendered on the headset.

God Rays & Field of View

As for the lenses, Reverb G2 is using Fresnels like pretty much every other headset out there. And if you know anything about VR… you know what that means: god rays. Yes, Reverb G2 shows god rays emanating from high contrast elements just like every other headset with Fresnel lenses. It doesn’t seem any better or worse than other Fresnel headsets of this generation like Quest 2 or Rift S.

Luckily Reverb G2 doesn’t show any of the outer glare that’s plainly visible in Valve’s Index headset when looking at high contrast elements, though this seems to come at the cost of field of view, which isn’t as large as Index. While HP advertises the G2 field of view at 114°, to me it feels on par with Quest 2 (which has been unofficially deemed to be around 90° or 95°).

Lens Shape

There’s one quirk to the G2 lenses that makes them a little less comfortable on the eyes than similar headsets. The symmetrical shape of the lenses (which look like teardrops turned on their side) do not extent outward over the nose to provide more stereo field of view in the area just between your eyes. While this normally happens below the eyes (because your nose blocks that portion of your view), the effect created by the lenses creates a ‘nose-like’ blind spot higher up between your eyes.

Every headset has some blind spot in this area, but most shape their lenses to minimize it, whereas on G2 it’s a bit more noticeable.

Update (November 18th, 2020): I had originally speculated above that the reason for the shape of the G2 lenses could be to make them symmetrical for manufacturing simplicity, and said that similar headsets usually have unique left and right lenses. The latter was incorrect; most contemporary headsets also have symmetrical lenses. The offending sentence was removed and the author offers their eternal soul in atonement.

Overall

Long story short, this is the headset with the clearest looking image and the most resolving power in its class.

Continue on Page 2: Audio, Controllers, Tracking »

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  • leseki9

    Few notes:

    The resolution is more similar to a 480p display rather than 720p, even though with less visible pixel gaps.

    The screendoor effect is still there, but of course it depends on the eyesight. The only way you won’t see the screendoor is your eyesight or if the lenses introduce aberrations.
    Also let’s not forget this isn’t the first headset with this resolution, there was G1 and before that there was Samsung Odyssey+ with an engineered diffuser film.

    While I don’t own a G2 yet I do own G1 and being a hardware dev I’ve had a chance to test out these 2160×2160 panels for my own projects, even had a chance to inspect them through an Oculus lens.

    It’s nice when the reviewer is enthusiastic about the subject but let’s not overhype this. This is just a friendly observation.

    Ben, message me if you’d like to hear more. I have many other panels, measurements and optics simulations. While some are corporate secrets or under NDA, there’s a lot of info I may be able to share about the current and upcoming tech.

    • Bob

      ” I’ve had a chance to test out these 2160×2160 panels for my own projects, even had a chance to inspect them through an Oculus lens.”

      Interesting. Was the experience similar to the G2?

      • leseki9

        I don’t own a G2 yet, only G1. Oculus lenses have a bit better field curvature. But at the same time at 2K x 2K resolution the blur away from center becomes more apparent. Before at lower resolutions it was less noticeable as less detail was there to be lost. This isn’t the fault of the WMR or Valve lenses only, it’s just a consequence of a single element lens and improving resolution.

        • Doon1

          Would a curved or hemispherical panel correct for this?

          • leseki9

            Yes, but flexible OLEDs only curve in one axis. The manufacturing process would need to completely change to allow manufacturing bowl-shaped OLEDs, nobody would probably invest in that.

    • wheeler

      What is the correct (or “close enough”) way of determining the desktop pixel density equivalent to a given VR display? Do you ultimately need to have standardized testing equipment that can measure the density directly?

      • leseki9

        You need to know the resolution, size and distance of your monitor and the resolution, FOV and lens distortion of your headset. Close enough lens distortion and FOV can be determined by displaying a grid pattern on the panel and capturing with a calibrated DSLR rig. If you design the lens yourself you don’t need to do this as you have the Zemax project files.
        Panel suppliers sell control boards that can be connected directly to PC via DisplayPort and the panel shows up as a single monitor, split between the two panels.

        • TechPassion

          What are these nice panels there? is it a 210″ OLED 2-panel setup of Samsung Odyssey 2 I am waiting for since 2 years? :)

          • Doon1

            I think they should call it the Odyssey ³. It works on multiple levels.

          • leseki9

            Just the same panels used in HP Reverb G1 (left) and Valve Index (right).

        • TechPassion

          Are there XR2 chip boards with 4 to 7 camera input slots? Desperated in waiting for Odyssey 2, I started to think about making it myself with 3d-printed heaadset, board with panels, gyro board, xr2 board, lenses and adapters and programming the tracking with room-features recognition by some OpenCV or whatever I need.

          • leseki9

            We don’t really work with XR2 at this point but SteamVR.

            I wouldn’t bother going with DIY, 3d printers are not precise enough for good lens alignment and it’s not really easy to make everything work together and there aren’t true plug and play code libraries either and you need programmers as well.
            OLED panels are made by only few companies which aren’t currently too invested in VR. LCD has room to improve though and it’s way more suppliers. Full array local dimming is not hard to do and will just add few mm thickness to the panels. I think suppliers will adpot that in the future.
            OpenCV and stereo SLAM is hard, there aren’t plug and play libraries, mostly just github repos accompanying research papers. Maybe Qualcomm can provide the code to partners but it doesn’t seem that they work with startups.
            Electromagnetic tracking is just expensive and also sensitive to external noise.
            Wide FOV is not hard but comes at cost of size of the headset.

      • Graham J ⭐️

        – Determine the vertical FOV of the screen you’re comparing against from a typical viewing distance in degrees
        – Multiply it by the rough vertical PPD of the headset
        – Put a “p” after it

      • TimmyP

        Lens quality and distance.

    • benz145

      I don’t think the headset has perfect clarity, but I think SDE (unlit space between pixels) is effectively gone. As I noted, there’s still aliasing and mura, but the classic screen-door grid is essentially not visible.

      Thanks for your offer to chat, I’m interested to hear what you’re working on. Where can I contact you?

      • leseki9

        Looks like there’s no DMs in Disqus. I’ll put this here for now: ghazaryan@radianttech.org

      • leseki9

        I don’t question how you perceive it, but it should be still visible for someone with good eyesight. Maybe it felt different though, like a fine sieving mesh rather than nearly pitch black gaps. Mura and aliasing is different to that. That’s what I see with G1.

    • Lulu Vi Britannia

      Resolution is definitely NOT at 480p level, it’s much more than that. Movies are 100% watchable in a VR headset even on a giant virtual screen. Ever tried watching something on a 480p giant screen? It’s a blurry mess. It’s not the case in the most recent VR headsets, where tiny detail is clearly visible.

      Because of the very thin SDE, it’s not 1080p clarity, but it’s definitely more than 720p.

      And before you come with pixel density: numbers aren’t everything. Perception is what matters. In VR, the SDE feels like a grid in front of your view. The image behind it is interpreted by your brain, rectified. It’s much clearer than a flat screen, because on a flat screen, the brain doesn’t interprete the SDE as a grid in front of an image, it sees it for what it is (a fragmentation of the picture).

      • leseki9

        Sorry but you don’t understand what you’re talking about. We are talking about pixel densities here, so your analogy of a giant 480p screen is irrelevant. A correct analogy would be a small 480p monitor, which would cover 18-20 dergees vertical FOV max of your vision from an average viewing distance.

        SDE has little to do with preceived resolution and pixel gap to pixel emitter or color filter ratio is different from tiny ~3.5″ panels to ~25″ monitors. I’ve worked in the VR industry on hardware the last 3+ years.

        • Lulu Vi Britannia

          You clearly didn’t read my comment, because I clearly started a paragraph with “don’t start with Pixel Density”.

          • leseki9

            This is not a logical discussion. You don’t get to decide how I respond. Your point is moot and I explained why. The bottom line is I work in the industry and I back up my claims while you have made a claim with nothing to back it up but your opinion.

            Have a nice day.

          • Sinshi Uzumaki

            You working in the industry doesn’t mean you are correct.

            It is all relative after all and you may both be correct depending on the angle you are viewing it.

            And as I tested it, it definetely is higher than 720p. That’s my experience though.

          • leseki9

            “You working in the industry doesn’t mean you are correct”

            This is what I said: “The bottom line is I work in the industry and I back up my claims”. Again, you guys don’t understand what you are talking about, this is simple math as I explained. I’m done here.

          • Sinshi Uzumaki

            Apparently you don’t understand. Simple math is not always that simple.

          • leseki9

            You just throw empty statements around. You need arguments to have a discussion here. Have a nice day.

          • Sinshi Uzumaki

            I told you my arguement.

            Technology can be seen from different angles. It is not a one way thing.
            Or else different approaches to a given problem won’t be a thing.
            And that is a fact.

  • Adrian Meredith

    If you don’t mind a bit of FFR You can run quest 2 perfectly fine at its native resolution. I play population 1 at the full 1,832 × 1,920 @ 72hz and it runs perfectly (ffrr set to high top) and looks fantastic.

    • kontis

      Quest’s native-like resolution is higher than 5K total and no, you are not gonna run any real game on it with this kind of res.

  • Lhorkan

    So basically, what we really want is an Index with these panels? >_>

    • Hobbes

      Or a G2 with Index controllers.

    • Kevin White

      Yep.

    • Bob

      Not exactly.

      G2 (form factor + weight + display) + Valve index (FOV + materials) = Fully satisfied VR enthusiast. Stick in an RGB OLED and you’ll have a VR enthusiast in eternal climax.

      Index controllers are already a possibility with the G2.

      • Kevin White

        “…Stick in an RGB OLED…”

        Yep, that’s kind of the holy grail, at least for these early years. I mean, the PSVR did it, and I think it was the only one, and despite the low resolution (G2 has 2x as many pixels in one dimension and 1.8x as many in the other dimension), it did great as far as presenting a solid image — big patches of red when watching a film through the PSVR, for example, looked far better than in the Vive or Vive Pro. PSVR also I believe had fewer god rays due to not using Fresnel lenses.

        Full sub-pixels, arranged in a stripe pattern, plus good contrast and true(ish) blacks would do it. One good test for this is a driving game in daylight — does a bright sunny day appear bright and sunny (it does in the Vive Pro I think) or does it appear kind of overcast (as I’ve experienced with LCD)?

        • Bob

          “plus good contrast and true(ish) blacks would do it.”

          One thing left to mention is HDR and VR is the absolute perfect place to demonstrate the capabilities of true 10 bit color depth and dynamic contrast with pixel level or at the very least some level of localized dimming control.

          Only an OLED or micoLED display will achieve pixel level HDR but unfortunately they’re either very expensive to produce or still in prototyping phase. HDR is sorely sorely needed in VR…

        • TechPassion

          You forgot about the Odyssey+ , the best headset in history.

          • Kevin White

            Um no I didn’t. Odyssey and Vive Pro had essentially the same display panels, and Odyssey+ just sandwiched a thin layer of vaseline in there to soften the Pentile effects a little. Not the same.

            Good contrast and blacks on all three of these though.

          • Doon1

            I believe it was a pyramidal reflective grid.

          • From their press release:

            “Samsung Anti-SDE AMOLED Display solves SDE by applying a grid that diffuses light coming from each pixel and replicating the picture to areas around each pixel. This makes the spaces between pixels near impossible to see. In result, your eyes perceive the diffused light as part of the visual content, with a perceived PPI of 1,233PPI, double that of the already high 616PPI of the previous generation Samsung HMD Odyssey+”

          • TimmyP

            And the tech was created by Samsung and is going to remain in their headsets. Which sucks for everyone because most sets have Samsung LCDs in them.

            That being said O+ still reigns supreme.

          • Doon1

            Like I said; a pyramidal reflective grid. ;D

      • kontis

        “Stick in an RGB OLED” == reduce the amount of pixels and thus degrade resolution.

        Some people here think they can eat a cake and have it too.
        OLED is not available at these sizes with densities as good as best LCDs.

        • Bob

          “Some people here think they can eat a cake and have it too.
          OLED is not available at these sizes with densities as good as best LCDs.”

          Has it ever occurred to you that this is all hypothetical? It’s a dream combination and nothing more. And no don’t start spouting out that this isn’t possible at all because it is but the market isn’t there so high density RGB OLED panels are still tied to labs.

        • TechPassion

          Man, what reduce? Resolution is a resolution. Color consists of pixels. You can have LCD with more pixels, but what kind of pixels? Single color pixels. Put there an OLED with 2160×2160 resolution and that would be it.

        • Doon1

          Samsung has been working on increased pixel density. I’m hoping they will have something for us soon. I wonder if they can meet the PPI of the G2…

    • wheeler

      Here is what I’d want:

      G2’s resolution, colors, and weight

      Index’s edge to edge clarity, geometric stability, stereo overlap, field of view, refresh rate, weight balance, tracking accuracy, build quality, and controllers

      The Vive’s wireless (except with 802.11ay)

      Quest’s inside out tracking as an option (for convenience and cost reduction)

      • Bob

        Could you clarify on geometric stability? I’m very curious here.

        • wheeler

          Things like distortion and pupil swim, especially noticeable when turning one’s head. The Index’s dual element lenses have reduced it to a point where I barely notice it anymore, but in everything else I see the image warp when I turn my head. Big deal for immersion and comfort, though sensitivity varies between people quite a bit.

          • Playing Aircar yesterday, 90hz 1.3 SS on Index (2080Ti)

            Crystal clear image, geometric stability is excellent across entire field of view.

            Absolutely breathtaking to make a turn high above the city, looking down using eyes (not head) through the sidewindow and seeing all that rich detail below with no noticeable distortion.

      • dk

        if u also want 120hz ….u will also need hdmi 2.1 and at least 3080

      • TimmyP

        I suggest you try an O+ for some real benefits. G2 isnt that great. Only set that is better than the O+ is the Index(only set with a higher FoV, and it has a lower vert fov)). People need to face the facts honestly.

        • Dmacell

          O+ is now collecting dust since the G-2 arrived

          • TimmyP

            Lol the G2 is FAR worse. Sorry buddy. Next time dont buy HP shit and read reviews.

          • Dmacell

            Sour grapes for you. Its exactly what i wanted. My O+ on steroids.

          • TimmyP

            What? I do not believe you have an O+. A PLUS, not a regular Odyssey. The G2 isn’t oled and it doesn’t even look comparable. I immediately noticed the gray on the LCDs when I put the set on. With OLED its being blinded until an image appears.

            IDK what you are smoking but the overall IQ of the O+ is not only drastically different looking, its just a regular low fov set with a regular looking LCD on it. And its HP typically produces sh*t products…

            Oh and who invented OLED again? Supplies the majority of headset displays? Go figure this company makes the best overall looking headset too. Only one that compares is Index, and that is because its the only one with that kind of FoV that isnt a stretchy Pimax.

          • Dmacell

            I have an O+ , a vive and a G-2. I also had a cosmos, so i do know what crappy tracking is and what good tracking is. lol ;) Enjoy your headset, i did for over a year. Its just time to move on. I had shutter glasses with CRT years ago, so its come a long way.

          • TimmyP

            Oh you have them all like everyone who wants to argue? WHAT A SURPRISE! Wow so original. First NO YOU DONT HAHA LIAR. GEE HOW DO I KNOW THAT? UH OHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

            Second off, liar, son… Close you eyes. Put a blindfold over it or something. Make it BLIND; ZERO LIGHT. Now imagine, that an image appears out of nowhere. Do you know the OLED black is the same black you see when you have your eyes blindfolded or closed?

            Do you know how many fools havent realized that in VR (virtual REALity) a natural black, a REAL black, is THE single killer feature outside of FOV? Oh, and it so happens the O+ has a 105 degree FOV with a vrcover… PLEASE TELL ME… DOES THE G2 or the FBQ2 even break 90? Nope.

            Goodbye. You got ripped off, and you are a liar with an Odyssey one. HA.

    • TechPassion

      Index is waaay wayy to heavy with its 809 grams of weight. It is like having a brick on your face.

  • Also the title… Screen door has been gone since the O+ which I currently use and I use vr 10 to 12 hours a day as my primary work area with no irl monitors at all. I run 3 monitors in vr at 1080p @90hz. Works perfect and flawless even on normal games.

    • Cooljellow

      Screen door is still there with O+. I have the original Odessey and tried the O+. I actually preferred the original Odessey because the O+ method of “upscaling” blurred the image and I didn’t like its effect (I purchased O+ and returned it because of that). I just received my pre-order G2 and can say that it’s definitely an improvement over O and O+. Screen door is almost unnoticeable – you have to look real hard to see it. It’s very good clarity.

      • Doon1

        I have both. I had to mod them both (differently) to fit my fat head and maximize FOV. I prefer them both to any of the LCD offerings (I’ve tried them all but the G2). I also prefer the O+ over the O. I feel like the reduction of SDE outweighs the slight fuzziness. I also use blue blocking prescription lenses in both which seems to help negate the fuzzy.
        I will probably try the G2 but I do a lot of night flying and darker gaming. Plus every screen in my house is OLED so I’m used to that level of contrast and deep blacks.

    • Dmacell

      I upgraded from the O+ to this and the G-2 is waaaay clearer

      • kontis

        Clarity and details are not related to screen door effect. Avegant Glyph was 720p with zero screen door effect.

        • Dmacell

          Im sure the bump in resolution had something to do with it too

        • Robert Waida

          I had one of those too. Clear as could be but hurt my old ears. take this from an old man 66yrs who has had all of these HMD’s this one has the best clarity also i have a very bad arthritic neck and its super light so this one is a win for me.

      • TimmyP

        Not really. The G2 is MUCH foggier.

    • benz145

      Simply blurring the image to remove the SDE is something of a hack and comes at the expense of sharpness; you could accomplish the same on the Rift DK1 if you wanted.

      • TechPassion

        Stop writing bs if you didn’t even have Odyssey+ in your hands. The image is razor, razor sharp. Totaly insane quality in Odyssey+.

        • benz145

          I’ve used Odyssey and Odyssey+ and could see the difference in sharpness between them. “Razor sharp” is a purely relative and subjective description.

          • Used Odyssey plus after using Index for months. First thought was noticeable screen door effect in Project Cars 2, and slight blurring of display. Really appreciated the richer colours and higher contrast of Odyssey plus but not that screen door…

          • TimmyP

            The O+ had scaling issues until Windows 10 2004, and they just introduced Chromatic Aberration removal. TP might be overstating a little, but it is a totally new headset vs this time last year.

        • Chris Blackburn

          Dont say baseless things especially if you most of you havent used higher res headsets, pretty sure a person covering vr news for YEARS would have experienced a vast majority of the tech by now

      • TimmyP

        Only by licensing Samsung tech. With the diffuser they use for anti-sde (Yes they invented it, as well as OLED) it looks like they are keeping for their headsets only.

        So Facebook would have to come up with their own Anti-SDE tech.

    • Graham J ⭐️

      They’re a lot less than 1080p equivalent when viewed with an O+.

      • Patti Erenberger

        I’m actually using Headless Ghosts that are all 4k that I tone down to 1080p and in Virtual Desktop, not the cliffhouse or other WMR environments. As benz145 said, it is a bit of hack and does come with the expense of sharpness, that I am sure the G2 corrects (and I hope it does). And I realize that my Headless Ghosts/Virtual Desktop setup are emulating a 1080p screen vs a physical one. The technology still has a way to come, but so far, this is almost as good as it gets. I plan on emulating the same setup with my G2 when I get it and then again on any newer higher resolution setup in the future. Like samsung’s rumored MICRO LED headsets that I hope become a reality.

        • Graham J ⭐️

          Sure that works well. I use my 3440×1400 monitor in VD on the Index sometimes. Looking forward to being able to read it better with the G2.

        • Bob

          “Like samsung’s rumored MICRO LED headsets”

          Do you have the source of this rumor?

    • Dave

      No the O+ just used smudging technology LOL! I think the idea is to get a better image not an inferior one!

  • silvaring

    Has anyone done a teardown of one of these to find out if microsoft put one of their HPUs in there for tracking?

    • benz145

      There’s no reason to. My understanding of the HPU is that it was a co-processor for offloading HoloLens sensor data processing from the main CPU. G2 isn’t a standalone headset so the sensor processing happens on the host PC instead of on the headset.

      • silvaring

        From what I’ve read the HPU in Hololens 2 was used with the forehead infrared camera to do SLAM and hand tracking. Thats why I was asking, as it seems like infrared and some kind of HPU like chip is essential for high quality hand tracking.

  • Kevin White

    Good comprehensive review. I’m seriously considering jumping back in with this.

    Would like to know about the contrast and black scene fidelity of these LCD panels, especially relative to others like the Index, Quest 2, Rift S, and OLEDs like Vive Pro / Odyssey and Quest 1.

    I found Odyssey’s controllers to have latency that you often wouldn’t exactly notice until you did something fast and compared it to Lighthouse — two easy examples are Longbow in The Lab and the “whack-a-mole” game in the nVidia VR Funhouse. Vive / Vive Pro had a noticeably more solid, connected, “REAL” feeling in both of those than did the Odyssey. Somebody a couple of years ago blamed fact that the Bluetooth was accomplished by buying a third-party dongle rather than within the headset like with the Vive. I dunno.

    Would like to know about haptics. The earlier WMR headsets used the ERM-type rumble haptics, unlike the original Touch, Vive wands, and Index controllers which used more expressive (but lower amplitude) LRAs. My understanding is that the Quest 2 and Rift S have reverted to using ERMs. I also heard the PS5 controller now uses an even more speaker-cone-like haptic gadget that one-ups LRAs. What are the controller haptics like on these G2 controllers?

    Tracking volume was a problem for me on the Odyssey, especially with how gangly my arms are and how clunky the loss / reaquisition of tracking was depicted visually. For example, in the old game Audioshield, every time I’d briefly lower my arms / shields to view incoming orbs, when I raised them again they’d “stick” for a third of a second before snapping upward. Glad to see the two side cameras on this, but I think a lower and upper camera (total of six) are probably also necessary for near-parity with Lighthouse. I’d like to try this though. Maybe one day the cameras for controller tracking will actually be inside the controllers…

    I also had issues with the WMR software layer and the SteamVR plugin. There was nothing I wanted to do in the WMR environment but I wouldn’t have minded if it provided equivalent SteamVR stability and performance vs. running directly in SteamVR on the Vive, but I had a variety of issues, restarts, etc. Curious whether things have improved in this area. I was also definitely not a fan of the boundary-creating system in WMR, which was a pain to use properly compared to the ease of Chaperone in the Vive.

    Interesting bit about the distortion vs. the Index; I wonder if the headphone amp (for lack of a better term) is less powerful than in the Index, so that equivalent volumes push the amp into clipping on the G2. Or it could be a software issue.

    It’s too bad that wireless doesn’t seem like it would ever be an option with WMR or with this G2 at least. But then we don’t have wireless for the Index either. My buddy’s Vive Pro wireless setup is excellent and losing that freedom seems tough. At least the 6M cord seems decent. I believe I measured my Odyssey’s cord bundle at just under 13 feet, and the extensions I bought for it introduced visual noise in the form of little red speckles.

    Decisions…

  • Kevin White

    My comment keeps getting removed by the comment system. I’m seriously considering jumping back in with thisG2 .

    Would like to know about the contrast and black scene fidelity of these LCD panels, especially relative to others like the Index, Quest 2, Rift S, and OLEDs like Vive Pro / Odyssey and Quest 1.

    I found Odyssey’s controllers to have latency that you often wouldn’t exactly notice until you did something fast and compared it to Lighthouse — two easy examples are Longbow in The Lab and the “whack-a-mole” game in the nVidia VR Funhouse. Vive / Vive Pro had a noticeably more solid, connected, “REAL” feeling in both of those than did the Odyssey. Somebody a couple of years ago blamed fact that the Bluetooth was accomplished by buying a third-party dongle rather than within the headset like with the Vive. I dunno.

    Would like to know about haptics. The earlier WMR headsets used the ERM-type rumble haptics, unlike the original Touch, Vive wands, and Index controllers which used more expressive (but lower amplitude) LRAs. My understanding is that the Quest 2 and Rift S have reverted to using ERMs. I also heard the PS5 controller now uses an even more speaker-cone-like haptic gadget that one-ups LRAs. What are the controller haptics like on these G2 controllers?

    Tracking volume was a problem for me on the Odyssey, especially with how gangly my arms are and how clunky and jarring the loss / reaquisition of tracking was depicted visually. For example, in the old game Audioshield, every time I’d briefly lower my arms / shields to view incoming orbs, when I raised them again they’d “stick” for a third of a second before snapping upward. Glad to see the two side cameras on this, but I think a lower and upper camera (total of six) are probably also necessary for near-parity with Lighthouse. I’d like to try this though. Maybe one day the cameras for controller tracking will actually be inside the controllers…

    I also had issues with the WMR software layer and the SteamVR plugin. There was nothing I wanted to do in the WMR environment but I wouldn’t have minded if it provided equivalent SteamVR stability and performance vs. running directly in SteamVR on the Vive, but I had a variety of issues, restarts, etc. Curious whether things have improved in this area. I was also definitely not a fan of the boundary-creating system in WMR, which was a pain to use properly compared to the ease of Chaperone in the Vive.

    Interesting bit about the distortion vs. the Index; I wonder if the headphone amp (for lack of a better term) is less powerful than in the Index, so that equivalent volumes push the amp into clipping on the G2. Or it could be a software issue.

    It’s too bad that wireless doesn’t seem like it would ever be an option with WMR or with this G2 at least. But then we don’t have wireless for the Index either. My buddy’s Vive Pro wireless setup is excellent and losing that freedom seems tough. At least the 6M cord seems decent. I believe I measured my Odyssey’s cord bundle at just under 13 feet, and the extensions I bought for it introduced visual noise in the form of little red speckles.

    • wheeler

      Regarding G2 wireless, I wouldn’t count out a generic wireless PCVR solution. 802.11ay, which is scheduled for Working Group approval this month, will give us a ton of throughput https://steamdb.info/app/669010/history/

      • Kevin White

        Thanks. My comment got marked as spam again but at least somebody saw it…

        Exciting times if that pans out.

  • TechPassion

    Good review, without Oculus fanboyism. Cheers

  • Dave

    though this seems to come at the cost of field of view

  • Dave

    “Reverb G2 doesn’t show any of the outer glare that’s plainly visible in
    Valve’s Index headset when looking at high contrast elements, though
    this seems to come at the cost of field of view”

    Yes that’s precisely the case. The Valve Index which uses the same lenses but has 2 per eye instead of 1 – the lenses are stacked which has the benefit of giving you higher FoV but at the cost of form factor, weight, price and of course god rays. Although I would say that’s a price worth paying and maybe HP should have considered it also?

    • Ad

      More FOV would have reduced pixel density. I think they made the right choice, especially if it lowered the cost.

      • CazCore

        yes. i don’t understand the FOV fetish that nearly everyone seems to have. getting us back to the pixel density that we lost (from using desktop monitors) is FAR more important than bumping up the FOV, which is ALREADY better than what we had.

        • Ad

          Both have their uses. I would love a super high res headset with modes to select like Pimax does, although they stretch the resolution so much by default.

    • The Index lens is dual element, Reverb G2 is single element

      Very different lenses, specific to each headset

  • Doon1

    I often wonder if Samsung pissed in RoadtoVR”s wheaties at some point. It seems like they make it a point to never mention the O or O+ in their comparisons.

  • Ad

    Two questions I would have reading the top bit.

    1) “G2 is comfortable enough, and better than G1, but doesn’t really move the bar overall for VR comfort.” Does this mean compared to the Index? Because it sounds like this comfort and even low weight puts it in a class with the index above all other headsets.

    2) Is there a reason a monitor would have to be realistically sized? Couldn’t you fit a 40 inch monitor in view? Plus a second or third? Seems worth comparing to Infinite Office soon at least.

    Maybe add a disclaimer on the chart of MP per headset about FOV and pixel arrangement not being considered.

  • Ad

    “I couldn’t stop looking at the absurd level of detail revealed in the *medal* of the shotgun.”

  • Ad

    MS, Valve, and HTC need to trade software tech for a few things, like that multi flatscreen app tech in cliffhouse.

    • dk

      and opening any desktop app inside any vr game or app should be a standard across all headsets….MS should just open wmr to all headsets

      • Ad

        It should be a standard windows function. You still have to have a dummy monitor to have multiple displays.

        • dk

          wmr can actually work without a monitor attached to the pc ….but I was talking about u can open any desktop apps in their own window and they can be arranged like having different monitors in front of u …..even if u have one physical monitor

          • Ad

            Any desktop app or any app from the windows store?

          • dk

            why do I have to repeat myself for a 3rd time instead of u googling it after the 1st time …..just saying

            yes u can open any desktop app

            also mouse support is excellent between the windows …u can even navigate and orient yourself with it if u have to move around the house while using it as a desktop with many windows

  • Amazing review, as always. Long and detailed. Thanks for writing it!

  • Mike549

    Would this be worth buying if you have a 1660 ti (that’s my upgraded card from an RX480)?

    • david vincent

      The minimum recommended graphics card for a HP Reverb G2 is the Nvidia GTX 1080. But on a demanding game like DCS, even a 2080Ti starts sweating like a pig.

      • Sinshi Uzumaki

        Does a pig sweat?